Monday, September 26, 2011

The Battle of Eylau: February 8, 1807


The Russians under General Bennigsen took Napoleon and the French by surprise when they launched a rare Winter offensive at the end of January, 1807. Bennigsen was fortunate that a captured courier then provided a detailed plan of Napoleon's response, which otherwise might well have trapped him via the maneuver on Ionkovo. The first part of the 1806 -1807 campaign in Poland is covered in James Arnold's excellent new book Crisis in the Snows. I recently had the pleasure of reading this book, which includes detailed information not only on this battle, which represented Napoleon's first significant check since the Siege of Acre, but the less well known battles that preceded it. Highly recommended!

I ran the Battle of Eylau (using Brent Oman's Field of Battle by Piquet) twice in 2007. The first game was in March 2007, within a month of the 200th anniversary, in my basement with members of the Hartford (CT) Area Historical Gaming Society or HAHGS.  The second game was in July at Historicon 2007. The pictures in this post are of the March HAHGS game. A narrative and pictures of the same scenario as run at Historicon 2007 can be found on my old site, here. The details of the scenario used follows later in this post, after the pictures. All of the winter ridges were built out of pink insulation foamboard specifically for the battle. The winter look makes a nice change of pace from our usual tabletop appearance!



Friant's Division is promptly threatened by the Russian Left Wing cavalry under Jancovitz, while a Division of French Dragoons form Murat's Cavalry Reserve maneuvers to support their foot compatriots.




Make that TWO Divisions of  French Dragoons keeping the Russian horse in check, while Davout's next Division (Morand) enters the table in turn. 



On the Northern end of the table Russian Cossacks and Cavalry move forward, while Lasalle's outnumbered  Light Cavalry Division tries to slow their advance. Note the strong Russian defensive position on the ridge line!



This sideways view shows the Cavalry of the Imperial Guard drawn out to prevent Lassalle's command from collapsing.



This proved less than successful, leaving the Russian Cavalry dominating the Northern portion of the battlefield. 



Davout with the French Dragoons have beaten back the Russian Cavalry in the South, but this has distracted them from their true objective - the village of  Serpallen on the left flank of the Russian main infantry position. 



However, with the Jancovitz's cavalry now neutralize, Davout moves aggressively to outflank both Serpallen and the main Russian Defensive position!



The town of Eyalu, with the French Imperial Guard in the foreground, and the Corps of Marshals Soult and Augereau beyond it. The stream is frozen solid and has no effect upon the play of the game. 



Davout and the French Cavalry Reserve continue to  make progress on the Russian Left.



The main Russian gun line is very intimidating; Soult and Augereau are doing their best to avoid closing with the Ridge of Death! Blinding snow squalls are helping make the Russian artillery fire upon them less galling than it might otherwise be.



Generals of the Czar: from the left Joe, Greg, and Barry.



In the service of the Emperor are Matt, Peter C, and Peter A.



The Artillery of the Guard attempts to hold the Russian Right flank in check, with only limited Infantry support.



Soult and Augerau judge the moment right to finally tackle the ridge line opposite them, with the Cuirassiers of the Cavalry Reserve in support. 



As things are looking grim on the Southern end of the battlefield, Lestoq and the survivors of the once proud Prussian Army arrive on the scene, having given Marshal Ney the slip. 



Prussians seeking revenge for their decisive defeats at Jena and Auerstadt just a few short months ago



French Legere try to eject some stubborn Russian Jagers who are still tenaciously holding out in Serpallen, as night descends. Marshal Ney arrives on the table, but as in real life, too little and too late to influence the result, which is a minor French victory. 


The following few shots are the first mock up of the battlefield before further carving the slopes of the ridges. Once they were painted white, I dry brushed the slopes with a variety of browns and greys (seen in the earlier pictures above). Without this, the ridges were almost invisible, being white on white. I think the effect worked well and looked good. 




The stream sections are ones I made way back in 1981 using artist's board for the basic shapes, and then applying Plaster of Paris to the top and sculpting it while still wet.  Rocks and a few logs (twigs) were added to the plaster before it dried. Then the plaster was painted in a variety of blue/gray tones, and the "crests" of the rough water dry brushed of white. The banks were made of brown plasticene clay, and then several coats of varnish were brushed on to everything. I think they have held up well and still look quite good for all the years they have been in service!


For those who might be interested, this is the scenario used. The various regiments refer directly to those of my own collection, and so while the troop types are generally correct, the exact regiments will not match those in my OOB. A few of the Divisional generals may also be different from the historical ones, for the same reason. 

Battle of Eylau: 8 February 1807
Scale: 1 Infantry unit = 1800 men, Cavalry = 1200 men, Artillery = 36 guns

Russian Army, Bennigsen   Poor  LD: D8   Radius 16” 
Abysmal Sequence Deck

Note: The scale of guns per artillery unit is 50% more than the French. To reflect the greater number of tubes, Russian artillery units have 3 UI instead of 2, and their listed Combat Die is 1 one higher than rolled for.

Right Wing: Tuchov  Abysmal  LD: D10   Radius 20”

5th Division: Tuchov
Little Russia Grenadier  Crack    CD: D12+1  DD: D8
Guard Jager (Grenadier)  Crack    CD: D10   DD: D8
Bieloserk Line  Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6

4th Division:  Samov   Abysmal  LD: D8   Radius 16”
7th Jager  Crack   CD: D12   DD: D8
Koslov Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
Oufa Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
Riga Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6

Right Wing Cavalry: Markov Abysmal  LD: D8   Radius 16”
Arsamass Mounted Jagers  Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
Soum Hussars  Crack   CD: D10   DD: D8
Ekaterinaslav Cuirassiers  Crack   CD: D12   DD: D8

Cossacks: Platov  Poor  LD: D8   Radius 16”
Don Cossacks  Rabble   CD: D10   DD: D4
Orel Cossacks  Rabble   CD: D8   DD: D4

Right Wing Artillery Gortcachov Abysmal  LD: D8   Radius 16”
Gde/CSapper 12 # Foot Artillery Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
AB Sapper 6# Foot Artillery Regular    CD: D12   DD: D6
CD 6# Horse Artillery Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6

Center:  Sacken  Abysmal  LD: D10   Radius: 20”

3rd Division:  Sacken
1st Pavlov Grenadier  Elite   CD: D10   DD: D10
2nd Pavlov Grenadier  Elite   CD: D10   DD: D10
Jaroslav Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6  
Viborg Musketeer Regular   CD: D12+1   DD: D6
Sousdal Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6

8th Division:  Essen  Abysmal  LD: D8   Radius 16”
Dneiper Musketeer Regular   CD: D12   DD: D6
Pernov Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
Moscow Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6

Center Artillery Langeron  Poor  LD: D8   Radius 16”
(Gde) 12# Foot Artillery Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
AB 6# Foot Artillery Regular   CD: D12   DD: D6
GH 6# Foot Artillery Regular   CD: D12+1   DD: D6

Left Wing:  Bagration  Poor  LD: D8   Radius 16”

2nd Division: Tolstoi    Abysmal  LD: D8   Radius 16”
9th Jager  Crack   CD:D10   DD: D8
Grouzinski Grenadier  Crack   CD: D10   DD: D8
Suravtov Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
Nisovski Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
Ouglitz Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6

14th Division: Kamenskoi   Poor  LD: D8   Radius 16”
5th Jager  Crack   CD: D10   DD: D8
Smolensk Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
Tomsk Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
Neva Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6

Left Wing Cavalry: Jancovitz   Abysmal  LD: D12   Radius: 24”
Empress Cuirassiers  Crack   CD: D12+1   DD: D8
Siberia Uhlans Regular   CD: D 10   DD: D6
Achtyrsk Hussars  Crack   CD: D12   DD: D8
Perelaslav Dragoons Regular   CD: D8   DD: D6

 Left Wing Artillery: Czaplitz   Abysmal  LD: D8   Radius 16”
EF 12# Foot Artillery Regular   CD: D12+1   DD: D6
CD 6 # Foot Artillery Regular   CD: D12   DD: D6
AB 6# Horse Artillery Regular   CD: D12   DD: D6


Prussians: Lestoq   Poor  LD: D10   Radius: 20”
1st East Prussian Musketeer Regular   CD: D12   DD: D6
2nd East Prussian Musketeer Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
3rd East Prussian Landwehr Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
Coburg Musketeer Regular   CD: D12+1   DD: D6
1st West Prussian Dragoon Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
AB Prussian 6# Horse Artillery Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6

TOTAL:  18 Musketeer, 5 Grenadier, 3 Jager, 2 HC, 2 Cossacks, 5 LC/Dragoons, 3 x12#, 4 x 6#, 3 x 6# HA. Represents 46,800 I, 10,800 C, 360 Guns

MORALE CHIPS:  47, plus 7 additional upon the arrival of Lestoq

Battle of Eylau: 8 February 1807
Scale: 1 Infantry unit = 1800 men, Cavalry = 1200 men, Artillery = 24 guns

French Army, Napoleon  Superior  LD: D12  Radius: 24”
Superior Sequence Deck

Guard Infantry: Dorsenne   Average  LD: D12  Radius:  24”
Guard Grenadiers a Pied  Elite   CD: D12   DD: D10
Chasseurs a Pied  Elite   CD: D12   DD: D10

Guard Cavalry:  Marshal Bessieres  Skilled  LD: D12  Radius:  24”
Grenadiers a Cheval  Elite   CD: D12+1   DD: D!0
Chasseurs a Cheval  Elite   CD: D10   DD: D10

 Artillery Reserve: Hanicque  Skilled  LD: D10  Radius20”
AB 6# Guard Horse Artillery  Elite   CD: D12+1   DD: D10
AB 6# Horse Artillery  Elite   CD: D10   DD: D10
CD Horse Artillery  Elite   CD: D10   DD: D10

III Corps:  Marshal Davout  Superior  LD: D12+1   Radius:  26”

1st Division:  Morand  Superior  LD: D12   Radius:  24”
15e Legere  Crack   CD: D10   DD: D8
48e Ligne  Crack   CD: D10   DD: D8
111e Ligne  Crack   CD: D10   DD: D8

2nd Division:  Friant  Skilled  LD: D10   Radius 20”
10e Legere  Crack   CD: D12   DD: D8
3e Ligne  Crack   CD: D12+1   DD: D8
105e Ligne  Crack   CD: D12   DD: D8

3rd Division:  Gudin  Skilled  LD: D12  Radius:  24”
33e Ligne  Crack   CD: D10   DD: D8
108e Ligne  Crack   CD: D10   DD: D8
EF 8# Foot Artillery  CD: D10  DD: D6

Cavalry: Exelmans   Skilled  LD: D10   Radius: 20”
16e Chasseur a Cheval Regular   CD: D8   DD: D6

IV Corps:  Marshal Soult  Skilled LD: D12   Radius 24”

1st Division: St Hilaire  Superior LD: D12  Radius:  24”
7e Legere  Crack   CD: D10   DD: D8
12e Ligne Regular   CD: D8   DD: D6
85e L:igne Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6

2nd Division:  Legrand  Average  LD: D8  Radius: 16”
21e Legere  Crack   CD: D12   DD: D8
72e Ligne Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
AB 12# Foot Artillery  Crack   CD: D10   DD: D8

3rd Division:  Lewal  Skilled  LD: D12+1   Radius: 26”
25e Ligne Regular   CD: D12   DD: D6
57e Ligne Regular   CD: D12   DD: D6

Light Cavalry Division:  Lasalle  Superior  LD: D12+1   Radius: 26”
2e Hussar Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
9e Hussar Regular   CD: D10   DD: D 6


VII Corps:  Marshal Augereau (Oudinot)  Average  LD: D10   Radius: 20”

1st Division:  Desjardin   Average  LD: D12+1   Radius: 26”
4e Ligne Regular   CD: D 12   DD: D6
46e Ligne Regular   CD: D8   DD: D6
CD 12# Foot Artillery Regular   CD: D8   DD: D 6

2nd Division:  Heudelet  Average  LD: D10   Radius 20”
24e Legere  Crack   CD: D10   DD: D8
2e Ligne Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
18e Ligne Regular   CD: D12   DD: D6


VI Corps:  Marshal Ney  Average  LD: D8   Radius: 16”

1st Division: Marchand   Average  LD: D12+1   Radius: 26”
2nd Italian Light  Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
1st Italian Line (French) Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6
5th Italian Line (French)  Raw   CD: D10   DD: D4

2nd Division:  Dessaix  Skilled  LD: D12   Radius: 24”
2nd Italian Line (French) Raw   CD: D10   DD: D4
4th Italian Line (French) Regular   CD: D12   DD: D6


Cavalry Reserve:  Marshal Murat  Superior  LD: D12   Radius: 24”

1st Heavy Cavalry Division: Milhaud  Skilled LD: D12  Radius:  24”
4e Cuirassier  Crack   CD: D10   DD: D8
7e Cuirassier  Crack   CD: D12   DD: D8

2nd Heavy Cavalry Division:  Hautpol  Skilled LD: D12  Radius:  24”
2e Carabinier  Crack   CD: D12+1   DD: D8
1e Cuirassier  Elite  CD: D12   DD: D10
10e Cuirassier  Elite   CD: D12+1   DD: D10

2nd Dragoon Division: Grouchy  Skilled  LD: D10   Radius: 20”
9e Dragoons Regular   CD: D8   DD: D6
30e Dragoons Regular   CD: D10   DD: D6

3rd Dragoon Division: Klein  Average  LD: D12+1   Radius: 26”
15e Dragoons Regular   CD: D12   DD: D6
19e Dragoons Regular   CD: D12   DD: D6

Totals: 2 Guard Infantry, 5 Light Infantry, 20 Line Infantry, 2 Guard Cavalry, 5 Heavy Cavalry, 3 Light Cavalry, 4 Dragoons, 2 x 12# FA, 1 x Guard 6# HA, 2 x 6# HA., 1 8# FA. Represents 48,600 I, 16,800 C, 120 Guns

MORALE CHIPS:   46, plus 6 additional upon the arrival of Ney.

FRENCH DEPLOYMENT: As shown on the map; Friant's Division Makes a MOVE onto the table where indicated (for Davout) after both side set up but before any cards are turned.
RUSSIAN DEPLOYMENT: As shown on the map. The Guns should be placed along the ridge line with the infantry behind them wherever applicable.


Battlefield Terrain Map


Battlefield Deployment Map (French in black)

Game starts at 9AM; each Move card turned by the French Player equals one hour elapsed. Thus 10AM = second Move card turned by the French. If the game has not ended before that time, it ends after the 9PM turn has been played.


Reinforcements:

10 AM: 1st Division (Morand) of Davout’s Corps enters from the South corner of the Battlefield where indicated.

12 NOON:  3rd Division (Gudin) of Davout’s Corps enters from the South corner of the Battlefield where indicated.

2 PM:  Lestoq’s Prussians enter from the Northwest in between the two ridges.

5 PM:  Ney’s  Corps enters from the Northwest in between the two ridges.


WEATHER:
When each MOVE card for either side is turned, roll a D6. On a roll of “1” (“1” or “2” starting at 6PM and thereafter), there is heavy snow. In the event of heavy snow, all movement is half of normal, and all ranges count as one band longer than measured (thus fire at Long range is not possible in Heavy Snow.

The Battle of Eylau, February 8th, 1907

Time
Move Card #
Reinforcements
Heavy Snow?
9 AM
0

1
10 AM
1
Morand
1
11 AM
2

1
12 Noon
3
Gudin
1
1 PM
4

1
2 PM
5
Lestoq
1
3 PM
6

1
4 PM
7

1
5 PM
8
Ney
1
6 PM
9

1,2
7 PM
10

1,2
8 PM
11

1,2
9 PM
12

1,2


Brrrrrr!!! All that snow is making me feel cold... time for a glass of Brandy, and then back to painting still more Russians for our Borodino project. At least we now at last have a date and a place for Historicon 2012 - July 19-22 , in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Hope to see many of you there!

Peter

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for the excellent AAR. Pass the brandy.
    The extra discussion on the terrain construction, the weather notes and the OOB are all helpful.
    Armies look great. Enjoyed reviewing your troops in action.

    Cheers,
    M (aka WR)

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  2. Great photos, brings back memories of the game, which was a tense action with the weather and reinforcements making it quite different from your normal slugfest.

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  3. WR: Thanks, glad you enjoyed it, along with the extras!.

    Joe: I enjoyed both this version, and the Historicon one, which each played out quite differently. definitely worth doing again some day, especially since the terrain is all done, and our Russian and French armies have both expanded since then!

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  4. Some great photos and a fantastic lot of info!!!! Greg looks like his getting into the part!!

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  5. Thanks, Ray and Steve. An occasional "battle in the snow" is fun - I've also done the Beresina crossing and Mohrungen 1807 on a "white" table. Greg's a great sport; hope to get him to Historicon this year for the first time.

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  6. Great report. I really like the extras as well. Another very good post.

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  7. Excellent game report Peter. Thanks for posting all of the OB stats as well. The terrain mock up is a nice primer as well.

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  8. Glad you enjoyed it, Mike and Vic. I always enjoy reading your blog, Victor.

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  9. Did my own Eylau back in 2007.

    Very BUSY battlefield!

    http://murdocksmarauders.blogspot.ca/2007/02/success.html

    Bravo on your work here!

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    Replies
    1. Your game from 2007 looked great! I liked the dry ice "fog" generator. Reminds me of a floor party in college where we brought in Dry ice and placed it a water/methanol mixture to produce the "fog" along the floor; being a Chemistry major had it's advantages re: availability of materials!

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